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Want a cheap iMac? TOO BAD. But you can have a slow one for $1,099

Desktop gets yet another price point in entry-level offering

Apple iMac

Apple is adding a lower price point to its iMac line with the introduction of a $1,099 (£899) model, which drops the entry level on the all-in-one line by $200.

The company said that the new model would sport the same 21.5-inch display as the other iMac configurations while being equipped with cheaper internal hardware.

Where the $1,299 model that had previously been the cheapest sports a 2.7GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 processor, a 1TB hard drive, and Intel Iris Pro graphics, the $1,099 option is equipped with a 1.4GHz dual-core Core i5, a 500GB hard drive, and Intel HD Graphics 5000 hardware.

The new system will still sport 802.11ac Wi-Fi as well as Thunderbolt and USB 3.0 ports, along with the usual assortment of iLife and iWork software bundles.

The release will give a cheaper option to the iMac line while maintaining the four other price points for configurations that can be customized with additional storage and hardware options. Users can get more powerful 21.5-inch models at prices of $1,299 (£1,049) and $1,499 (£1,199) while larger 27-inch models start at $1,799 (£1,449 ) and $1,999 (£1,599).

Those looking to get a desktop Mac for under $1,000 will still need to look to either buying an older refurbished model or the bare-bones Mac Mini at $599.

Apple has historically avoided trying to compete with PC vendors in the low-end system category, where margins are tight and performance must often be compromised in order to stay competitive in the market.

Apple co-founder and former CEO Steve Jobs once said that the company avoided the low-end market because "we don't know how to make a $500 computer that's not a piece of junk." That sentiment has evidently carried over into the Tim Cook era, as the company has opted to keep a higher price point on its Mac desktops and notebooks while maintaining higher-performance configurations.

Thus far, the strategy has paid off for Apple, as Cupertino has been able to stay out ahead of the generally shrinking PC market. Cook and company have touted (PDF) year-over-year gains for the Mac in the most recent quarterly report. ®

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